Sports

South Carolina coach Spurrier eager to see Gamecocks improvements continue

  • South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, right, greets East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill, left, at midfield after an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 33-23. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

    South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, right, greets East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill, left, at midfield after an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 33-23. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Carolina safety T.J. Gurley (20) intercepts a pass in front East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy (2) of during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 33-23. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

    South Carolina safety T.J. Gurley (20) intercepts a pass in front East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy (2) of during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 33-23. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Carolina running back Mike Davis (28) celebrates with fans at the end of an NCAA college football game against the East Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 33-23. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

    South Carolina running back Mike Davis (28) celebrates with fans at the end of an NCAA college football game against the East Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 33-23. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)  (The Associated Press)

Steve Spurrier's learned a bit more about No. 24 South Carolina — and likes what he's discovered.

The Gamecocks coach understands, he says, that right now his players can't match the group that went a program record 11-2 in each of the past three seasons. But he saw a fire in his players on the sidelines and improvement on the field in a 33-23 victory over East Carolina and that's enough for now.

Spurrier said the Gamecocks (1-1), who fell three spots in the rankings, realize they're a team that must scratch and claw for every yard and each stop in order to come out on top.

That's what took place Saturday night when the Gamecocks withstood an early blitz by the Pirates (1-1) and gradually gained control.